Re-examining the relationship between audiometric profile and tinnitus pitch
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OBJECTIVE: We explored the relationship between audiogram shape and tinnitus pitch to answer questions arising from neurophysiological models of tinnitus: 'Is the dominant tinnitus pitch associated with the edge of hearing loss?' and 'Is such a relationship more robust in people with narrow tinnitus bandwidth or steep sloping hearing loss?' DESIGN: A broken-stick fitting objectively quantified slope, degree and edge of hearing loss up to 16 kHz. Tinnitus pitch was characterized up to 12 kHz. We used correlation and multiple regression analyses for examining relationships with many potentially predictive audiometric variables. STUDY SAMPLE: 67 people with chronic bilateral tinnitus (43 men and 24 women, aged from 22 to 81 years). RESULTS: In this ample of 67 subjects correlation failed to reveal any relationship between the tinnitus pitch and the edge frequency. The tinnitus pitch generally fell within the area of hearing loss. The pitch of the tinnitus in a subset of subjects with a narrow tinnitus bandwidth (n = 23) was associated with the audiometric edge. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings concerning subjects with narrow tinnitus bandwidth suggest that this can be used as an a priori inclusion criterion. A large group of such subjects should be tested to confirm these results.
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